7 days in Italy.

Italy
Tasted Saturday, June 16, 2012 - Friday, June 22, 2012 by nzinkgraf with 978 views

Flight 1 - Saracco w/ Paolo Saracco - Castiglione Tinella (6 Notes)

It's June 16th, in the midst of the longest days of the year. Berries are just starting to appear at Saracco. 10 days ago it was flowering, now berries are forming. Castiglione Tinella is dedicated to Moscato. Muscat Canelli was brought back from the Crusades over 900 years ago. Here massal selection is used. Man and nature together propagating the vines that thrive and pulling those that don't. A stone's throw away in Monferrato, Moscato underperforms, hence it's adaptation to Castiglione Tinella.
At Saracco, the average vine age is 40yrs old, planted 4000-7000 vines/hectare. There are vines up to 70yrs old and they DO make the better wines. The soils here are sand and limestone, poor soils. no clay. really its sand and chalk. white soils. The new winery is up at the top of the hill. Closer to the vineyards and Paolo's home, rather than the transport route.
Moscato, along with Lambrusco and Prosecco have long been available, but it was technology in the 70s that launched them. Autoclaves (5.5/6 bars of pressure and rounded at the top), temperature control and sterile filtration were the leaps. Technology serves to maintain freshness (brightness, fruit) in the Moscato. Its a different approach for the other wines. As it goes, if the fruit that comes in is great, Paolo claims he really has to try to fuck up the fruit.
Lots of talk about cutting deals with farmers to get control of vineyards. Now a total of 45ha of Moscato plus 10-15% of additional purchased fruit. Vineyards are located on a multitude of facings. North facing vineyards help to bring more acid to the table, but they also make for slower maturing and more complex fruit if you let them to there. For the Moscato at Saracco, it is the juice that is blended, not the finished wine. Fermentations take place throughout the year, October to June. July and August are too hot. The new vintage gets to market in November. 2 months from fermentation to delivery and the bottles now carry a 'born on' date.
Tasting some juice just about to be fermented. 2 degrees Celcius, 200g RS, a little CO2, a little SO2. 'fresh pear, juicy and flower. juicy MacIntosh apple.'
Tasting fermented juice after first filtration, about to go to bottle. 'flower is more present. fresh and juicy fruits aren't as apparent on the nose here. mineral on the nose and more fresh fruit appeal on the palate.'

  • 2009 Saracco Riesling Monferrato Bianco

    Italy, Piedmont, Monferrato

    (6/16/2012)

    Planted in 1999, 1ha @ 500m. Highest area. Very edgy and mineral nose. Ice and frost. All stainless steel. Palate is rather blistering à la O'Shea Scarborough Cease and Desist. Lees-y thoughts. Fucking fierce on the palate.

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  • 2009 Saracco Pinot Nero

    Italy, Piedmont, Monferrato

    (6/16/2012)

    Along side the 2003. Plantings are now 11 years old. 2003 was the first vintage. 7th vintage. 2 different Burgundy clones.
    2009: Mineral and dark red fruit aromas. Almost soft smoke notes, fresh brick, not really, hot bricks. Was $35, now down to $25. 750ml at tasting, MAGNUM at dinner, La Ciau de Tournovento.
    2003: MAGNUM...has the same mineral edge as the 2009. Soft mineral ash/smoke that has a very drying appeal, but still rather primary in character on the palate. 2003 was a hot vintage and the color suggests that even next to the youth of the 2009.

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  • 2011 Saracco Moscato d'Asti

    Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Moscato d'Asti

    (6/16/2012)

    Peach fruit aromas and then pear really follows on the palate. 26 May 2012 bottling. That's three weeks ago. Wonderful with the cheese course. Paolo notes that the 2011 vintage Moscato show big structure that will make for lasting wines. 2011 picking started August 4th, where as usually beginning in September. It was a warm August of 2011.

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  • 2011 Saracco Moscato d'Asti d'Autunno

    Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Moscato d'Asti

    (6/16/2012)

    150hl or 18,000 btls or 1,500 cs of this wine produced in 2011. Nothing more complicated than a blend of what Paolo liked the most.
    More focus in the aromas. 'For a couple $$ more than the basic you one of the best moscato period.'

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  • 2003 Saracco Pinot Nero

    Italy, Piedmont, Monferrato

    (6/16/2012)

    Along side the 2009. Plantings are now 11 years old. 2003 was the first vintage. 7th vintage. 2 different Burgundy clones.
    2009: Mineral and dark red fruit aromas. Almost soft smoke notes, fresh brick, not really, hot bricks. Was $35, now down to $25. 750ml at tasting, MAGNUM at dinner, La Ciau de Tournovento.
    2003: MAGNUM...has the same mineral edge as the 2009. Has a very drying appeal, and still rather primary in character on the palate. 2003 was a hot vintage and the color suggests that even next to the youth of the 2009.

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  • 2005 Saracco Moscato d'Asti

    Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Moscato d'Asti

    (6/16/2012)

    From MAGNUM along side a 2011 MAGNUM.
    2005: has moved beyond primary, but really enjoyable. Mint and herb aromas. 'chervil'. Feeling like aged gruner. Very much an herb presence on the palate. Not quite the pine forest, but...No signs of oxidation.
    2011: peach fruit aromas. On the palate, pear fruits and along side the herb of the 2005, some sort of Gruner clonal pair on the table tonight.

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Flight 2 - Marchesi di Gresy w/ Alberto di Gresy and Jeffrey Chilcott (11 Notes)

Starting with a couple of asides. Its the Tanaro River that separates Barbaresco from Barolo. The Nebbiolo Rose clone planted at di Gresy has thinner skins and in turn, more elegance. In the 1950s, only 25% of today's vineyards were planted. OK.
Alberto's family has been in Piedmont for 1000 years. Originally as money lenders to the English, but it was Alberto's father...a lawyer, who bought the farm. Now they have about 125 acres spread out in Monferrato and Langhe (rather untraditional it sounds). 200,000 bottles.
The reds here get approx. 18 months of ageing. 12 in small barrel, then transferred to large barrels for 6 months. barrels are used on average 15-16 years. Barbera is generally the first wine that goes into new barrels.
2011 vintage was picked early, because of the hot and dry August. Short 4 week harvest that also resulted in lower volume. (6 weeks is a good harvest length, with Nebbiolo coming in last. All grapes are hand picked with additional use of a sorting table. the whites are destemmed but not crushed. long and slow fermentations. in exceptional vintages post fermentation maceration. 40 day post ferm maceration for Gauin in 2011.
Cubic cement tanks to my left, but later lunch with a nice view of the Gaiun behind the herb garden. Entertainment provided as Alberto and Jeffrey dual over the turntable.

Flight 3 - Boroli w/ Alan Tardi and Achille Boroli - Brunella/Madonna di Como (11 Notes)

Just west of Castiglione Falleto, surrounded by the Brunella vineyard, at one of Boroli's two estates. Two estates because of the need to vinify Barolo within the zone of Barolo. Einaudi is a grand-fathered exception to this rule. 'Nebbiolo for Barolo can't, by law, be planted on north facing slopes.' Looking onto Brunella, we see some new plantings, oriented vertically to the top of the slope - Ritocchino. Safer, faster, more profitable. Castiglione is noted as having both east and west facing vineyards for diversity of exposition. The zone of Barolo was established in 1927, revised in 1934. There is a current moratorium on new plantings of Barolo. Again, 3 years minimum aging from January following the harvest, 2 of which, must be in wood. Riserva must age 5 years, Boroli goes for 8 years. In 1998 Boroli started by using all barrique. From 2006 onward, they use a combo of large cask and small barrel.
After the tasting, we arrive at the Madonna di Como estate. This was the first estate that Boroli operated, and is the estate where they make all the wines but the Baroli. When they took over in 1998, they ripped up 70% of the plantings and put in new clones. They're not organic or biodynamic, but they claim a respect towards nature. All the water from the hotel and restaurant on-site is reclaimed with plants that filter and clean the water. History at Madonna di Como dates back to 1060.

  • 2010 Boroli Barolo

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (6/17/2012)

    Cask sample, just over a year and a half in barrel. Cherry fruit, citröen, Hints at something blue. Earth, hay, straw. Ripping acid, fine-grain tannin. A little cocoa.

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  • 2010 Boroli Barolo Cerequio

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (6/17/2012)

    From 500L tonneaux. cask sample. Much more polish and concentration on the cherry aromas. Intense of the palate, herb and spice. Concentration, relative complexity, much chewier tannin.

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  • 2010 Boroli Barolo Villero

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (6/17/2012)

    Cask sample from barrique.
    A little more compelling than the Cerequio. Herb dimensions. Complexity at the same time much more fruit is flying around. Black into a touch blue, ease of baking spice. Tannin here is not nearly as chewy as the Cerequio.

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  • 2009 Boroli Barolo Villero

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (6/17/2012)

    Cask sample from barrique. Red and blue aromas. Palate shows concentration and suave texture. Tannin does not particularly over power. Candied cherry on the palate.

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  • 2009 Boroli Dolcetto d'Alba Madonna di Como

    Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Dolcetto d'Alba

    (6/17/2012)

    9 months in stainless steel and 6 months in bottle. Aromas of cranberry, cherry, herb, leaf. Easy tannin and easy acid.

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  • 2009 Boroli Barbera d'Alba Quattro Fratelli

    Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d'Alba

    (6/17/2012)

    Six months in large casks, 12 months in bottle. More cherry, herb and spice vs the Dolcetto. More fruit too. Herb and spice palate on a very glass-y texture.

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  • 2008 Boroli Langhe Anna

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC

    (6/17/2012)

    50% Nebbiolo, 30% Barbera, 20% Merlot.
    Red fruit, capsicum, mineral and easy balance on the palate. Finishes with spice. Soft waxy red fruit appears.

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  • 2007 Boroli Nebbiolo d'Alba

    Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Nebbiolo d'Alba

    (6/17/2012)

    6 months in large casks. 15 months in bottle. Has to be 100% Nebbiolo. Langhe Nebbiolo only has to be 85%. Waxy cherry and w touch of sweet fruit. Palate offers up herb and spice. A rather well-tuned wine.

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  • 2006 Boroli Barolo

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (6/17/2012)

    Quite a change of pace. Medicinal cherry and really loaded with floral aromas.

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  • 2006 Boroli Barolo Cerequio

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (6/17/2012)

    Boroli has ~1ha of Cerequio. There are 10-12 vineyard owners in Cerequio. Much quieter aromas than the 06 basic. Palate is elegant yet structured. Quiet all the same.

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  • 2006 Boroli Barolo Villero

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (6/17/2012)

    Mineral aromas up front. Deep cherry fruit appeal. Truffle aroma. More depth on the palate. Fine tannin and really chewy at the same time.

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Flight 4 - Vietti w/ Luca Currado - Castiglione Falletto (15 Notes)

In 75AD, Pliny requested Nebia or 'wine of the fog' and put a start on the start of viticulture around Alba. Martinenga, originally a Romas site, is one of the oldest viticultural sites in the region. Barolo is 2400 acres made up of three main hills: Monforte to Serralunga, Castiglione, and La Morra. With 650 landowners, there is Burgundy-like parcelization. Luca claims 20 'Grand Cru' of Barolo and asserts Burgundy is to Barolo as Bordeaux is to Tuscany. The oldest bottle at Vietti is from 1873 (corn cob cork!!), but the history goes back to the 14/15th Century. Vietti owns or purchases fruit in 15 of the 20 Grand Cru (Ginestra, Mosconi, Bricchio Viole, Fosati, Bussia Monforte, Bricco Fiasco, etc) They just purchased 1 acre of Brunate and have 2 more or the remaining 5 Cru coming on next year. 1961 was the first single vineyard cru bottling at Vietti. Previously crus were blended together to make Riserva. Also around this time Prunoto did a single vineyard bottling. Currently 120 acres of Vietti in Barolo. At ~1 Million Euro an acre, only Burgundy is more expensive, as Champagne prices were recently eclipsed. 120 acres makes 22,000-25,000 cases a year. All estate bottled. Bruno Giacosa on the other hand is mainly a negociant.
Looking down upon the Scarrone vineyard, Luca claims that the best vineyards never face full south. SE, SW, E & W. It is noted that all of the Barbera Tre Vigne and Dolcetto is planted in Barolo designated parcels. Langhe/Alba is to Monferrato/Asti as Napa is to Sonoma. The Nutella machine is located in Alba. In Piedmont itself, grapes come first to hazelnuts second. But in the greater Langhe, hazelnuts are more prevalent.
Looking up from the Scarrone vineyard, it is the highest mountains in Europe that surround Piedmont. Mt. Blanc, etc. give an incredible microclimate to the region. There's also a glacier around here somewhere. Luca said he just went skiing there. It's these cool Alpine drafts that provide cooler nights to preserve tartaric acid, otherwise used by the vine to survive if temps remain to warm.
On to some winemaking speak. All gravity in the winery. Talk about submerging the cap during the fermentation. 2/3 of the way through fermentation a screen acts as a french press. only in ripe vintages. 30-40 day maceration and it's noted that you really need ripe seeds for this. Luca claims that stainless vs foudre ferment doesn't really make a difference because of the relatively short period of time over which fermentations take place. It's another story as far as aging is concerned. Telescopic hydrolic punch down unit used on Barbera too. There is a Roto-fermenter left in the winery, but this is only good for shorter ferments, like when a vineyard is hail damaged (or other) and quick extraction is needed.
Generally, yields are about 1 btl/vine or less than one ton/acre. Small barrels are used over 3-4 months for Malolactic. 'the barrel of the lees is the barrel of the farmer.' Talking about how all the lees were racked into the same barrel and given to the farmer as wine. These wines would last, as all the glucoside proteins in the lees would absorb the reduction in wine. These proteins release many anti-oxidants and are more preservative than sulfur. In turn, Vietti wines are bottled at 1/3 sulfur, because they are aged on their lees longer.
Speaking of yeast. The wines are all inoculated with strains here were selected in the 1780s, as natural yeasts are 'a bit of Russian Roulette.' 'Yeasts eat the sugar and shit the alcohol.'
In the cellar, big Slavonian oak casks are used. Not painted, so they can transpire, no glue between the staves, which are hand cut by an axe. They only get 3 to 5 of these boti every 5 years. 7cm staves and the trees have to be over 150 years old. At over $EURO50,000/barrel, these cost more than a Porsche. A 200 year relationship with the cooper is key to supply. All crus are vinified and aged separately for 3 years. Perbacco is aged for three years as Barolo and is a selection of 4/5 of the 11 casks that start out as Castiglione. That being said, when Villero is not made, it is part of this Castiglione/Perbacco program. The cellar is 10m underground. Humidity should be felt ON the barrel, otherwise wine is soaking into the staves and you get the taste of 'sawdust.' Priority of aging is not given to different wines. Blind tasting and same barrel regiment between quality levels. And BTW, they use an air filter in the cellar to kill Brett and bacteria. The oldest parts of the cellar were built in the 13/14th century from 11th century reclaimed lumber. One of the oldest cellars in the region, on the list of Historic Preservations and under the walls of the city. Castiglione was used a military base when Napoleon invaded. It was here that wine was made for the French army and perhaps where the 'Napoleon' bottle originated.

  • 2011 Vietti Roero Arneis

    Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Roero

    (6/18/2012)

    Icy mineral and apple aromas. Very frosty. It is noted that there is more sand in Roero. In 1968, Alfredo was the first to make Arneis as a DRY white. Previously Arneis was a sweet white. Now at 5,000cs, Arneis fruit prices rival those of Barolo.

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  • 2011 Vietti Dolcetto d'Alba Tre Vigne

    Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Dolcetto d'Alba

    (6/18/2012)

    Very clean blackberry jam, not sticky, but... Glassy palate and good acid.

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  • 2010 Vietti Barbera d'Alba Tre Vigne

    Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d'Alba

    (6/18/2012)

    Licorice, flower and red into light black fruits. Fantastic.

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  • 2010 Vietti Barbera d'Asti Tre Vigne

    Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Barbera d'Asti

    (6/18/2012)

    Relative to the '10 Alba Tre Vigne, this comes across a little more muddled in aroma and flavor. But it is overheard, '2010 vintage Barbera is fantastic, especially the Asti Tre Vigne.'

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  • 2009 Vietti Barbera d'Alba Scarrone

    Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d'Alba

    (6/18/2012)

    Sets itself apart from the pack in the kernel aroma that presents itself. Palate is also much more suave. Red and black fruits, kernel, earth, and hay on the palate.

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  • 2010 Vietti Barbera d'Alba Vigna Vecchia Scarrone

    Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d'Alba

    (6/18/2012)

    Shows more acid over the '09 basic Scarrone. Also exhibits a floral note I did not find in there either. More depth of earthiness. The finish comes across a little lighter on it's feet.

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  • 2009 Vietti Barbera d'Asti Superiore Nizza La Crena

    Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Barbera d'Asti Superiore Nizza

    (6/18/2012)

    Again, kernel aromas not present in the Tre Vigne wines. Doesn't really exhibit that as much on the palate. A freshness on the palate not found in the Scarrone bottlings. Flower and a vibrant punch on the palate. This splits the difference between the (2) Tre Vigne and (2) Scarrone.

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  • 2007 Vietti Barbaresco Masseria

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco

    (6/18/2012)

    Macerated orange peel, orange rind liquor aromas. Kernel and goat cheese on the nose too. Licorice on the palate. Red fruit but not a fruit bomb. Straw. Understated, yet focused sweet ripe cherry on the palate.

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  • 2009 Vietti Langhe Nebbiolo Perbacco

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC

    (6/18/2012)

    Takes over the Masseria Barbaresco 07, as far as intensity of aroma is concerned. A density of fruit aroma. Concentration of strawberry and cherry. Earth is still there, but in a lighter shade.

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  • 2008 Vietti Barolo Castiglione

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (6/18/2012)

    Bright fruit focus to the aromas. Again, strawberry into cherry fruit, nuanced orange peel. More mineral than the 09 Perbacco. Herb and spice. Adds more mouthful and caress.
    I'll have to diverge from WillSka's findings and say that this youthful wine (fully developed? Have we been handed the same homework?) will indeed benefit from additional time in bottle. Drink to 2024.

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  • 2008 Vietti Barolo Rocche

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (6/18/2012)

    This shows more herb and spice, next to the 08 Brunate. Rather giving, Orange peel, graphite. 'complicated wine, difficult vineyard, long aging, the Swiss watch of the Barolo bottlings at Vietti'

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  • 2008 Vietti Barolo Brunate

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (6/18/2012)

    Has the accessibility on the palate. Fruit up front and a little shy licorice note. 'La Morra, more feminine, early accessibility'

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  • 2008 Vietti Barolo Lazzarito

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (6/18/2012)

    'Serralunga, masculine, minerality, the CndP of Nebbiolo'
    Kernel, focused herb and spice. For sure the most concentration on the palate for this set of 08 Vietti Barolo. But then some lift on the palate to lighten the approach. Beautiful earthiness, grass and straw.

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  • 2004 Vietti Barbera d'Alba Vigna Vecchia Scarrone

    Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d'Alba

    (6/18/2012)

    Aromas entering into some forest floor. caressing texture w/black fruit on the palate. barbera spice without the youthfulness. KAPOW!! moss and gingerbread spice. giving texture and while at a tipping point in it's flavor profile, there are still many years ahead of this wine. drink to 2018.

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  • 1995 Vietti Barolo Rocche

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (6/18/2012)

    Luca says that the he pulled this vintage because the '95 vintage was similar to the 2008 producing with elegant wines framed with round tannin.
    delicate spice on the palate. earth, forest floor w/ red cherry fruit in the background. cherry vitamin aromas. red fruit and grassy. dusty, mineral, and spice. Wonderful accompaniment to the semi-soft goat cheese. All the earthy components of both are drawn to the front. A plate of fresh and crisp sauteed vegetables is a great compliment as well. Baby fennel bulb pulls an herbal note from the wine that appears to have been all but lost prior to consumption. Drink to 2018.

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Flight 5 - Poliziano w/ Dott. Federico Carletti - Montepulciano; Badia a Coltibuono w/ Roberto and Emanuela Stucchi (11 Notes)

Lest I not forget...w/ Roberto Stucchi at the Badia. Relax and Chi Gong by the pond. The monestary was originally founded in 1050 by an order that fell out of favor with Florence. Purchased by the Stucchi-Prinetti family in 1846. Sharecropping has long been the way in Tuscany. The estate is 2000 acres, much of which is forest that was farmed for centuries. Speaking of Popes. Leo X was Giovani di Medici, who became Abbot of Coltibuono at 11 years old.
On to the next day, and in the vineyard w/ Emanuela. Vineyard replanting started in the 80s is almost complete. Massal selection. 20 year average vine age. 'Cetamura,' in the woods by the Abbey is a Eutruscan town currently being excavated by a team from Florida State. 32 meters down, grapes and olives have been found in an ancient well. Standing in the Monte Bello Vineyard (Sangioveto) at the Monti estate and we're just 15 minutes from the Abbey. 60ha at Monti. Organic since 2000 and Emanuela claims sharecropping failed because the best wines went to the Estate and the worst lots to the peasants. Any who. Monti winery built in 1997. gravity fed for soft tannin extraction. lizards are running around outside by the sorting table, as it's said that the destemmer is not always kind to Sangiovese. In the winery, barrique for Sangioveto and Coltis Buoni. Sangioveto is fermented in wood and extended time on the lees. 2012 vintage so far...warm winter with not much water til late spring.
Generally speaking, Tuscany has 6000ha of vines. 50,000cs of Coltibuono estate. 150,000cs of negociant. 1734 - Chianti is the worlds first wine appellation. 1930 - the region was expanded and Classico established. The Consorzio was founded in 1936/37 to combat expanse in the region.

Meanwhile, Dott. Carletti of Poliziano is the current President of the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (Italy's first DOCG, 1980) Consorzio. Poliziano was founded in 1961 by his father and now comprises 300 acres of vine. 125 in Montepulciano, high density plantings and 65% of vines are 20 yrs or younger. 85% French Oak and 15% American oak. All estate grapes. Previously wines were aged in large cask only, now a combination of barrique and large cask. Concrete and stainless fermentation with submerged caps. Previously, selected yeast were used, but 5 or 6 years ago back to natural yeasts. (here is the start of this natural vs selected yeast conversation. Vietti to Lageder. Discuss.) Now temperature controlled ferments at 24/25C rather than the 28/29C of the past. Post-fermentation maceration at 28/29C to extract more nobile tannin. 20 days max. Dr. Carletti claims open top oak fermenters are the best, but too risky for Brett and contaminants. experimented with Roto-fermenters in '95/96 but they were too harsh on Sangiovese and destroyed the skins. Now its all about tapered stainless steel. holds CO2 in and easier for punch downs. smaller tanks for smaller lots. BTW, 5,000 bottles of Chardonnay out there a year vs. 1M btls of red.
In the vineyards, a more recent change as the density is now at 6,000 vines/ha. a variety of clones. 30-40% estate selection, 60% of a market selection. 1999 was the first of a string of very warm recent vintages and in turn they've adjusted their leaf canopy. Previously, they'd open the canopy to give grapes more exposure in June. Now they leave them covered. They also cut top leaves to reduce photosynthesis. They've had no Spring frost since 1995. Prior to that it was 1 in 4 vintages. I guess the point is, they find themselves adjusting in the vineyard every year. And also...there's lots of clay in the soil. Poliziano was a 14th Century poet from Montepulciano, a teacher to the Medici family.

Do you follow me? All references to darkness - Prugnolo-prune, Brunello-black, Morellino-black horses

  • 2010 Coltibuono Trappoline Toscana IGT

    Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT

    (6/18/2012)

    Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Aromas feel full and a bit more mature than the 2010 would suggest. Apple to pear fruits. And again not snappy fruit, but a pleasurable drink.

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  • 2010 Poliziano Rosso di Montepulciano

    Italy, Tuscany, Montepulciano, Rosso di Montepulciano

    (6/19/2012)

    80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot. 30% in oak for 6-8 months. 300,000btls. There are four different bottlings of this particular wine.
    Dr. Carletti calls out 2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2010 as particularly good vintages, with 2010 especially so.
    aromas show substantive cherry, along with mineral and spice. A palate of texture and substance. Excellent QPR @ $16.99. BUY BUY BUY.

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  • 2009 Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

    Italy, Tuscany, Montepulciano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

    (6/18/2012)

    80% Sangiovese, with the remaining 20% between Merlot, Colorino, Cannaiolo. 2009 was a difficult vintage for Poliziano, they didn't start picking fruit in the 2009 vintage, until all of the other producers had finished. All things being told, they are still proud of this wine.
    Aromas suggest more of a bing cherry. Capsicum complexity and mineral. palate is dark cherry, mineral, and spice with a refreshing bitter on the finish. riper fruit thoughts on the palate than the aromas suggest. barrique shows a quiet cedar on the nose.

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  • 2008 Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

    Italy, Tuscany, Montepulciano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

    (6/19/2012)

    Dr. Carletti notes that 2008 was a disaster of a vintage for him as a farmer. He particularly notes this for the Asinone Vineyard. 70% production in this vintage.
    Waxy cherry. easy, yet dense earth to the palate.

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  • 2006 Poliziano Le Stanze Toscana IGT

    Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT

    (6/19/2012)

    $60SRP. Dr. Carletti claims this is his best vintage of this wine. Coming off all that pooh-poohing of the 2008 vintage over the last wine (08 Vino Nobile and Asinone).
    70-100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% max for Merlot. Pepper and black fruit aromas. acid and soft spice hand in hand on the palate.

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  • 2008 Poliziano Merlot Cortona in Violas

    Italy, Tuscany, Cortona

    (6/19/2012)

    Poliziano has Merlot and Syrah planted in Cortona. He doesn't like the Syrah yet, so he just bottles the Merlot. Aromas show vibrant leathery red and black fruits. Easy kernel.

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  • 2010 Azienda Agricola Lohsa Morellino di Scansano

    Italy, Tuscany, Maremma, Morellino di Scansano

    (6/19/2012)

    85% Sangiovese and 15% Ciliegolo (??). Lohsa is the name of the river that runs through the vineyards. Ciliegolo is not always just for blending. it has color with light tannin.
    Here, an easy aroma. more elegant than the prior wines. freshness over concentration. easier food friendly palate. Med body with fresh acid.

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  • 2008 Azienda Agricola Lohsa Maremma Toscana Mandrone di Lohsa

    Italy, Tuscany, Maremma, Maremma Toscana

    (6/19/2012)

    Dr. Carletti believes this will be DOC for 2011 vintage onward.
    80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot, Carignano, Alicante
    Bell pepper, iron, mineral, upfront spice and black fruit.

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  • 2006 Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Vigna Asinone

    Italy, Tuscany, Montepulciano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

    (6/19/2012)

    First vintage of Asinone as a single vineyard wine was 1983. It was planted in 1961/62. Asinone means 'fat donkey.' I think I got that right.
    more than 90% Sangiovese with Colorino and Cannaiolo. First single vineyard bottling in Montepulciano. One of the first 5 in Tuscany. So I'm guessing #5 there. maybe 4th. Tops.
    Dense red fruit aromas. dark red fruits. mineral, spice, medium acid.

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  • 2007 Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 25 Vendemmia Vigna Asinone

    Italy, Tuscany, Montepulciano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

    (6/19/2012)

    25th vintage of Asinone. Silver Capsule. On slopes located just outside of Montepulciano.
    Suave fruit palate. Big balance, with the ABV feeling right before a tipping point. It's like the ABV is about to RAMP this wine. If you know what I mean, its a good thing.

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  • 2009 Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Vigna Asinone

    Italy, Tuscany, Montepulciano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

    (6/19/2012)

    not showing the concentration of either the '06 or '07 Asinone. barrique shows softly here, while it didn't much present itself directly on the previous two vintages. redder than darker. wax and cherry.

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Flight 6 - Casanova di Neri w/ Giacomo Neri and... (5 Notes)

Let's set the scene, 15% of the area of Montalcino is covered by vine. There is lots of forest here. Its a dry, warm region with low humidity. Close enough to the sea to enjoy high diurnal temperature shifts. Sites are located in the South, the east and NE of Montalcino. Generally the south is dryer. The North is based on clay. The East, where the winery is located, is based on clay. The West is red to yellow soil. !!!There's a baby hummingbird flying around!!!! Wrong, there are no Hummingbirds in Italy. After further investigation that was a Hummingbird Sphinx Moth. Booo. Anyway...
Casanova di Neri was founded in 1971 and they sold wine in bulk until they started bottling in 1978. They have Sangiovese, Colorino, Cabernet. Montalcino was a very poor area in Italy. After WWII, lots of the population left. The soil is poor and tough to work with lots of rock and clay. There were 15 Brunello producers in 1978. Today there are 250. The value of the land has gone up 1000X. At 200,000 bottles/year, Casanova di Neri is the largest family owned winery in the region. They started with 12ha of vines, now they have 60ha. 500ha total with wheat, forest and olives too. Their first vineyards were those around the cellar, but the hard clay soil makes for hard, acidic wines. Then they found Ceretalto, followed by land in the South - Tenuta Nuova, Pietradonice (Cabernet). In what is seen as quietly addressing the Modern v Traditional discussion, Casanova di Neri is self-described as 'Modernist in breaking from convention.' They bottle 3 different cru of Brunello, 'white label,' Tenuta Nuova, and Cerretalto, a cool site with volcanic soil. There are also 1,000btls of a white wine out there too.
Walking around the vineyards surrounding the cellar it is noted that the 1981 plantings have wider rows for tractors and trained at a height easy for pruning/working. 4000 vines/ha. The 2004 plantings are to the Cerretalto clone at 7000 vines/ha, trained lower with closer spacing between the rows. They hot and dry climate of Montalcino makes for vineyards with fewer natural hazards and little dependence on chemical use. Here sulphur and copper are employed in relatively small quantities. In talking about climate change's effect on their practice, its said that they now leave more bunches on the vine in attempt to delay ripening. The Southern vineyards are picked first generally, about three weeks before the Estate vineyards. Followed a week later by Cerratalto.
!!!Turtles!!! kept on a grass roof above the cellar.
Grapes are destemmed, but not crushed. Whole berries maintained to retain natural yeasts (wouldn't the yeast then just be present in the liquid??), stainless steel fermentation. temperature controlled. wines are racked into barrel unfiltered. Slavonian oak of 48hL and 90/92hL used for Rosso Sant'Antimo, Tenuta Nuova and "White Label." French oak barrels of 225L and 500L used for Pietradonice and Cerretalto. (In another seeming, aside to the Modern v Traditional conversation)..."We've tried American oak, but it didn't give what we wanted."

Brunello must be 100% Sangiovese, max 8tonnes/ha!!!, 50-52 months aging, at least 24 months in barrel, at least 4 months in bottle.

  • 2009 Casanova di Neri Sant' Antimo Rosso di Casanova di Neri

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Sant' Antimo

    (6/19/2012)

    Just south of the Brunello zone in Le Cetine. Sangiovese (Cerretalto clone) with 25% Colorino. 15 months in oak.
    Whispers of menthol aromas, very nice acid on this wine. dark red fruit, real ease on the palate, yet rather structured for ~$20.

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  • 2009 Casanova di Neri Sant' Antimo Pietradonice

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Sant' Antimo

    (6/19/2012)

    translation - 'Boulders of Onyx' I thought onyx was black. so did everyone else. where are our heads?
    1992 planting. they couldn't plant any more Sangiovese according to regluations in the region for total acres planted, so they planted Cab instead. 18 months in barrel. At first it was a blend with Sangiovese, but now it's 100% Cabernet. black fruit aromas. ripeness shows in its real lack of pepper. not so overt barrel aromas. palate lets onto some green spice, but really about to jump passed that and into some red fruit. ripe, but feeling so Italian in it's svelt focus. damn good.

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  • 2007 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    (6/19/2012)

    'Chestnut trees are a sign to the cooler climate.' chestnut would traditionally impart a more 'rustic, sometimes aggressive tannins' Just some conversation overhead and no chestnut barrels being used here.
    45 months in large oak casks. some 25yrs old or more. from the family's oldest vineyard in Fiesole. East of Montalcino. This wine has only been in the US 3yrs now.
    Aromas of earth and wheat. dark red and black fruit. quick spice up front that does 'fade to black' quickly.

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  • 2007 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    (6/19/2012)

    1993 was the first vintage of this wine. From the south side of the appellation. Le Cetine vineyard, w/ the Cerretalto clone. 30 months in oak, 18 months in bottle.
    'Mediterranean scents'. Cleaner aromas than the White Label 07. Much fresher aromas, more elegance in the aromas. 'drink now oor age.'-Giacomo. And yes, it does have rather approachable structure. More firmly planted in red fruit territory. Dark red, but still red and fresh. Fresh spice in the aromas, and again no overt wood notes.

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  • 2006 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    (6/19/2012)

    Made in '81, '83, '85, '87, but called Riserva. '88 was the first time this was called Cerretalto. Made in '90, '93, '95, '96, '97, '99, '00, '01, '04, '06, '07, '08. (There are also a few notes up on the 2003 vintage as well.) 83hl made in 2006. Released in the 6th year after harvest.
    Volcanic soils, 'cooler' site east of Montalcino, towards the bottom of a hill in a natural amphitheater.
    Aromas show dark, dark red fruit. 'it has the finish'-Giacomo. Hints at black fruits. Shows richer and denser fruit aromas than the Tenuta Nuova 07. Mineral and spice on the palate. This is f***ing elegant Palate does get into black fruit. An action and elegance that I usually reserve for wines from Ridge.

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Flight 7 - Later on at Casanova di Neri with the Falvo Brothers, the wines of Masseria Li Veli. (6 Notes)

Nine hours south of Tuscany is Salento, a sub-region of Puglia - the heel of Italy's boot. The Masseria was built in the 7th Century. Antonio de Viti de Marco built the property in 1896, organizing vineyard cru surrounded by trees to protect from the strong winds. Purchased by the Falvo family in 1999 in need of some TLC. Planted exclusively to indigenous varietals, planted in 'settonce' (seven vine hexagon) with albarello (bush vines). 5210 vines/ha (previously 1500) and it is added that 'settonce' give the leaves and roots maximum exposure. shadows never fall on leaves or clusters, the soil can be worked in many different directions. Also, there are now rows of leaves to block even the smallest breezes. Temperatures range from 2-7C lows to 38-40C highs. Sand and clay based soils with lots of H20 in the water table.

  • 2011 Masseria Li Veli Li Veli Rosato Salento IGT

    Italy, Puglia, Salento IGT

    (6/19/2012)

    Negro Amaro is thin skins and soft tannin.
    Salty, strawberry. Creamy and racy. Thank goodness we finally get some rosé on this trip.

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  • 2011 Masseria Li Veli Verdeca Askos Valle d'Itria IGT

    Italy, Puglia, Valle d'Itria IGT

    (6/19/2012)

    Very mineral aromas. No oak. 90% Verdeca, 10% Fiano Minutola (for the aromatics). 30,000btls. Orange cream and floral underpinnings. Dry pear and peach palate, mineral. Perhaps a more mineral Falanghina. Great QPR at $18.

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  • 2010 Masseria Li Veli Passamante

    Italy, Puglia, Salice Salentino

    (6/19/2012)

    'passamante' - lovers passage. The woods behind the property.
    Here they do a 4 am harvest to avoid the heat. They start picking the last week of August. Primitivo comes in first and Negro Amaro last.
    Dry climate, most sun in Italy. No humidity and the ground is full of water.
    6 months in second fill barrel. 100% Negro Amaro. 'negro' is Latin based, 'Amaro' is Greek. A hybrid of the two languages as 'black black.'
    Thoughts of elegant zin pepper, baking spice. Very nice QPR @ $12.

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  • 2010 Masseria Li Veli Orion Salento IGT

    Italy, Puglia, Salento IGT

    (6/19/2012)

    Gets into more proper dried fruit character, but again, nice acid.
    Primitivo is the first grape to ripen at the estate. Ripens un evenly with some dried berries in the clusters.

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  • 2009 Masseria Li Veli Salice Salentino Pezzo Morgana

    Italy, Puglia, Salice Salentino

    (6/19/2012)

    At Li Veli, red soils, 33ha now, eventually they want 50ha.
    Here, a single vineyard offering. 100% Negro Amaro. 12 months in French oak. More density of I'm the aromas, less pepper. But here, grilled pepper as opposed to black.

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  • 2009 Masseria Li Veli Montecoco Salento IGT

    Italy, Puglia, Salento IGT

    (6/19/2012)

    A Cru of Primitivo, 9 months, half new half 2nd fill. More focus, fine white pepper and spice. With the Cru bottlings, this takes the cake.

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Flight 8 - Fattoria Selvapiana with Silvia and Federico Giuntini - Chianti Rufina (9 Notes)

Rufina is the foothills of the Apennines. Relative to Chianti Classico, this is a cooler region with substantial diurnal shift. Chianti Rufina (at 1000ha of vineyards) is 4% the size of Chianti Classico. 30-35% of wine in the region is made by Frescobaldi.
Selvapiana has 60ha of vineyard (54ha Sangiovese, 2ha Cannaiolo, Colorino, Malvasia nera, 2ha white for Vin Santo, 2ha Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Syrah), 40ha of olives, 120ha of forest that heats the estate. Organic farming and noted that fungus was tough this year and treated with copper. Cover crops are used. The soils here are deep clay and limestone. Vineyards all date from 1968-1992 plantings. 5000-7000 vines/ha. Bucerchaile bottled as single vineyard first in 1979 and it is a massal selection of vines from this vineyard that the remainder of the estate has been planted to. The estate was purchased by the Giuntini family in 1826 and the house contains a medieval tower built in the 15th century as protection for Florence.
In the cellar, there are no selected yeasts, 25-35 day fermentation/maceration, temperature controlled with lots of pump overs. In 2012 they're trying a barrel with no sulfur. 'Rufina can match Brunello in ageability.' Big casks are used for the Chianti Rufina and barrique for the Bucerchaile. Chestnut was used prior to 1999/2000 and did impart some bitter tannin.

  • 2010 Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rùfina

    Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Rùfina

    (6/20/2012)

    2010 was a 'good' vintage, not excellent. Stylistically they go for silky tannins, mineral and flower.
    Red and dark red fruit aromas. Soft licorice on the palate. Fresh and present acid. Very easy med/- tannin.

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  • 2009 Fattoria Selvapiana Pomino Rosso Fattoria Petrognano

    Italy, Tuscany, Pomino

    (6/20/2012)

    60% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet, 20% Merlot. Pomino is a hill in Rufina where international varieties are allowed. gallestro soils, white rocks, poorer soils, higher elevation. This is an IGT because the vines are under 5 yrs old. too young for the Pomino appelation. Sangiovese gets big barrel, cab and merlot get barrique.
    Similar mineral aroma runs between this and the '10 Chianti Rufina. A bright lacquer. obvious for more black fruit here, but still beautifully, and tightly, wound. M- tannin, easy and silky. SRP $20, screwcap.

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  • 2007 Fattoria Selvapiana Fornace Toscana IGT

    Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT

    (6/20/2012)

    40% Cabernet, 40% Merlot, 20% Sangiovese. The Cab and Merlot were planted in '88/'89 and it is now noted that those components are becoming 'more Tuscan.' $35 SRP. 4,000-5,000 bottles. 2007 was a warm vintage, 50% new French barrique, Lots of cherry aromas. cherry vitamin and earth aromas. M tannin. silky.

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  • 2009 Fattoria Selvapiana Fornace Toscana IGT

    Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT

    (6/20/2012)

    40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. 2009 was a classic Chianti vintage, no 2008 Fornace made. the 09 shows darker earth and kernel vs the 07. 09 ruby vs the 07 garnet, these wines are quite different animals. Sangiovese vs Cabernet Franc, it would seem.

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  • 2009 Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rùfina Riserva Bucerchiale

    Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Rùfina

    (6/20/2012)

    100% Sangiovese, no 2008 made. SW facing slopes, poorer soils. 12-15 Oct picking. 'truly a great vintage for this wine.'
    Ruby, dramatically more pronounced fruit aromas. polished and confident medicinal black cherry aromas. barrique shows, but quieter than the 2009 Fornace. still young, has the fruit, but not as suave as the 2007 is showing.

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  • 2007 Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rùfina Riserva Bucerchiale

    Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Rùfina

    (6/20/2012)

    Similar to the 07 and 09 Fornace, the 07 and 09 Bucerchiale also show a rather dramatic shift in color, with only the 2 years of difference. aromas here, show much more traditional. sweet pollen, more vitamin and earthy red fruit aromas. more density and concentration than the basic DOCG.

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  • 1981 Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rùfina Riserva

    Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Rùfina

    (6/20/2012)

    Concrete tank, chestnut barrels and not temperature controlled fermentation. Those were the ways of winemaking technique that produced this vintage in 1981. "VIDE" on the neck. This is a trade organization of great producers. "Wine producers of Italy of Excellence" or a translation to that effect. Felluga and di Gresy part of it as well.
    Aromas of bright (see poolside) tobacco leaf, no oxidation. M/- tannin remains. 12% ABV. very elegant on the palate. just a whisper of red fruit remains. the finish just keeps on...

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  • 1993 Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rùfina Riserva

    Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Rùfina

    (6/20/2012)

    1993 was a classic cooler vintage. still carries a dark red fruit thought. starting into forest floor on the palate, but still feels barely mid-life. medium tannin.

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  • 2004 Fattoria Selvapiana Vin Santo del Chianti Rùfina

    Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Vin Santo del Chianti Rùfina

    (6/20/2012)

    these grapes are picked mid-day, after the morning dew has dried off. then air dried til February. 'sweeter style.'
    butterscotch aromas, apricots and hazelnuts. Mmm...

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Flight 9 - Cleto Chiarli (7 Notes)

Prior to 1860 the Chiarli family produced wines served at their family restaurant. In 1860 the restaurant closed and they then focused on wine production.
There are references to Lambrusco 2000 years ago by the Romans.
Two main areas: Grasparossa di Castelvetro and Lambrusco di Sorbara (20km N of Modena). Both Grassparossa and Sorbara are destemmed. Sorbara is the more delicate of the two and stays on its skins for 24 hours. Grasparossa stays on its skins for 48-72 hours depending on the style. Must hits a chiller immediately. After its pressed off its skins it stays at just above freezing until fermentation. 18C fermentation temperature to start and then 2-4 month ferment at 15C. Faster ferment makes for bigger bubbles that dissipate quickly, so the slow ferment is essential. Halfway through the process the valves are closed to capture the CO2. If the valves were closed the whole time, it would get to 10-12 bars of pressure, which is WAY too much for the tanks to handle. then sterile filtered, ice cold, under pressure. 700,000L capacity or 1M bottles.

  • 2011 Cleto Chiarli Colli Bolognesi

    Italy, Emilia-Romagna, Colli Bolognesi DOCG

    (6/20/2012)

    100% Pignoletto. Most increased planting of any grape variety in Italy in 2011. Can be made into still, sparkling or spumante. 'a little bit salty.' Same DNA as Greco di Tuffo. Very mineral with pear fruits. salty and saline on the palate. 100% Malo. $16 SRP.

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  • NV Cleto Chiarli Grasparossa Brut Rosé

    Italy, Emilia-Romagna, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro

    (6/20/2012)

    85% Grassparossa, 15% Pinot Nero.
    Strawberry aromas. 'easier and lower acid than some of the other wines, like Fondatore.' an intro wine for non-wine drinkers. 'women like this color.' - I can't believe that just came out of his mouth. Pinot Noir contributes some acid structure.

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  • 2010 Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Sorbara Vecchia Modena Premium

    Italy, Emilia-Romagna, Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC

    (6/20/2012)

    'light color for Sorbara.' 24 hours of skin contact. strawberry, cherry, higher acid. aroma and palate contrast. fruity nose, zippy acid on the palate. was the first Lambrusco to get Tre Bicchieri. Now 3x. Suggestion with smoked salmon.

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  • 2010 Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Sorbara del Fondatore

    Italy, Emilia-Romagna, Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC

    (6/20/2012)

    bottle fermentation. started in tank, finished in bottle. unfiltered, so there's some sediment. Deeper color than the Vecchia Modena. creamier note in the aromas.
    Prior to 1960s, all Lambrusco was bottle fermented, but then the sweetness level of wine delivered in bottle was always up in the air.

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  • 2010 Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Enrico Cialdini

    Italy, Emilia-Romagna, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro

    (6/20/2012)

    Enrico Cialdini was a General that fought for Italian unification. He was born at the Villa on the estate (purchased by the Chiarli family in 1911).
    100% Grassparossa. Grassparossa is to be drank warm warm in the winter and chilled in the summer. Grassparossa is a BBQ wine. blackberry fruit in the aromas.

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  • NV Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Pruno Nero

    Italy, Emilia-Romagna, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro

    (6/20/2012)

    a blend of Grassparossa and Salomino (dark grape, longer grapes i.e. 'little salami') 20g/l RS. Aperitif/BBQ. This is just Lambrusco di Modena DOC.

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  • NV Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro

    Italy, Emilia-Romagna, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro

    (6/20/2012)

    here we have 50g/l RS. 8% ABV. high acid, fruit on the nose, but the finish is rather dry. great with food. grapey aromas. strawberry and hints of hay and earth on the palate. $11SRP.

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Flight 10 - Alois Lageder (15 Notes)

Alois' mother farmed her garden biodynamically. As a child, and still to this day, he gets his hair cut according to the calendar as well.
The estate started with 10ha of vineyards, but now has 50ha. In 1995, the new winery was built in Magreid to replace the one in Bolzano. In 2004 the decision was made for biodynamics after years of experimentation. 2008 was really the turning point in the vineyards. For Alois, biodynamics is a RETURN to balance. Building up humus in the soil. 150 years ago fungus appears because of the monoculture of grapes and apples in the region. Preparations are done in parts of animals - horn and bladder. horn manure helps maintain soil moisture. there is horn manure and horn silica. horn manure humus is added after St Michaels day at the end of Sept, as the Earth breaths in... The quartz for horn silica is cut between Christmas and Jan 6. 2/3 g in 40L of H2O per hectare. The water must be 'dynamized' by stirring by hand clockwise for 1hr and then counter clockwise for 1hr. Alois notes (with some mystery) that cow horns can't be carbon dated. Briefly looking around the web, I can't verify this. But the rings on horns correlate to the number of calves the cow has birthed. 3 rings, 3 babies.
Walking through the garden there are trees 130-140 years old. This garden was purchased in 1991 from the Archbishop of Trento. The old winery in Bolzano was bombed twice during the war and rebuilt. As we enter the Lowengang vineyard, Alois notes that prior to Biodynamics they were picking after the 11 of November. Now generally they start 26 of August and end in October. The Cab, Carmenere, and Cab Franc here are all pre-phyloxerra vines between 80-120 years old. 250m elevation and trained to Pergola, which has the benefits of shadowing the soil and protect the bunches. In the vineyards around Magreid, we have 100% Dolomite soils with vineyards extending up to 1000m.
After harvest the soils are turned. 20 different cover crops are employed. Barley, arugula, mustard, peas, beans, annuals in some, perennials in others, calendula, flowers, etc. There's also a herd of 60-70 sheep that are brought in after harvest. For the first time (in a while), cows will be brought in after the 2012 harvest.
We're staring at the compost piles. Horse manure is for power, cow manure is for elegance. Leaves and stems are mixed in with the manure piles. Oak bark, valerium, chamomile, nettles also go into the compost preparation. 5/6 tonnes of compost are applied per hectare. added to 1/3 of the vineyards every year. Both the compost and cover crops work to build up humus in the soil. Worms (earth cows) work/aerate the soil as they come to the surface at night and go down during the warm days.
Viticulturally speaking, Alois' biodynamic vines show shorter internodal space, and in turn these vines aren't growing too vigorously at the top (like Inama) where they need to be pruned (like Inama). If you do work pruning the tops, then energy gets put into new shoots (which you have to expend work on also). Alois' vines show balance and now require less vineyard expense.

Farm as organism. Harmony.

And on the other end of this equation, there is a winery. No fossil fuels are burned, 70% photovoltaic. gravity fed and circular design. no selected yeasts for estate wines. There is a 'but...' in there. Temperature control. During harvest, phases of the moon are considered, but if it rains... They work with 110 other growers. 120ha total. 9 of the growers are Biodynamic. 35 are interested as such. In total there are 5000ha in Alto Adige between 5500 growers.

My thoughts go back to the 2001 Lowengang Chardonnay that we enjoyed with dinner last evening. Absolutely fantastic, akin to licking a brilliant quartz.

  • 2011 Riff Pinot Grigio Terra Alpina

    Italy, Venezie IGT

    (6/21/2012)

    This is a collabaration with two farms that sit between Trento and Verona. The best lots are selected from wine that is vinified in their cellars. Grapes in Alto Adige are too expensive to make a wine under $10. Pear, stone fruit, chalk, mineral. refreshing mineral palate.

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  • 2011 Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco Alto Adige - Südtirol

    Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Alto Adige, Alto Adige - Südtirol

    (6/21/2012)

    crisp aromas of citrus, stone fruit, mineral. some lees contact? hints at floral notes on the palate.

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  • 2010 Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco Alto Adige - Südtirol

    Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Alto Adige, Alto Adige - Südtirol

    (6/21/2012)

    Alois claims 5 years of good drinking for his Pinot Bianco.
    Creamier touch in the nosee. shows more mature fruit aromas. not mature, but just not the brightness of the '11. loses a touch of the brightness off the palate as well. Still a young wine, just a shade different than the '11. A little mineral licorice.

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  • 2011 Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio Alto Adige - Südtirol

    Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Alto Adige, Alto Adige - Südtirol

    (6/21/2012)

    Mineral, stone fruit and apple aromas. palate follows suit.

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  • 2011 Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio Benefizium Porer

    Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Alto Adige, Alto Adige - Südtirol

    (6/21/2012)

    Planted next to the Lowengang Cabernet in Magreid. more pronounced aromas vs the basic. Stone fruit and a creamier note in the aromas. previously 15-20% of this wine was barrel fermented, up til 09 this was the case, but then the biodynamic farming practices led to more complexity of the fruit and hence it has been all stainless since. pear aromas. longer on the lees than the basic. 6 months here. palate shows a juicier pear fruit. 'conventional farming needs more time for physiological ripeness.'

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  • 2011 Alois Lageder Gewürztraminer

    Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Alto Adige, Alto Adige - Südtirol

    (6/21/2012)

    70% of GW in Alto Adige is made by Co-ops. 'Enough heat here to naturally make balance dry GW.' Traminer has parents from S. Germany/Alsace, but GW is perhaps a mutation from this area. In this bottling, 50% from Traminer, 50% from just north of Bolzano (finesse and acid).
    Peach and anise on the nose. palate does show a fine balance. Perhaps the finest GW in recent memory.

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  • 2011 Alois Lageder Moscato Giallo Vogelmaier

    Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Alto Adige, Lago di Caldaro

    (6/21/2012)

    Vogelmaier is the farmer. 100% dry. yellow aromas, jasmine, lavender aromas. a pretty skunk. to go with creamy intense cheeses.

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  • 2011 Alois Lageder Lagrein Rosé

    Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Alto Adige, Alto Adige - Südtirol

    (6/21/2012)

    Color without skin contact. Teraldego is one parent of Lagrein, perhaps Schiava is the other.
    Strawberry, mineral (rubber/skunk). cherry on the palate and just a touch of tannin. very nice.

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  • 2008 Alois Lageder Pinot Noir Krafuss

    Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Alto Adige, Alto Adige - Südtirol

    (6/21/2012)

    The vineyard belongs to Alois' father-in-law. 85 years old (the father-in-law or the vineyard?) still farmed conventionally, but the compact soil has been recently broken up. 1/3 new barrel for 14 months. cooler site, 450-500m, there is always wind up here. He (Alois or his father-in-law?) lives in Krafuss.
    Cinnamon and cherry aromas. palate is fantastic. hints of brown sugar on the palate. M/- body. Wow.

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  • 2008 Alois Lageder Lagrein Lindenburg

    Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Alto Adige, Alto Adige - Südtirol

    (6/21/2012)

    The vineyard is next to the center of Bolzano. Sandy soils, rounder more chocolate-y wines. Lagrein from Magreid is more severe and more tannin from the Dolomite soils.
    red fruit, cherry, pepper aromas. granite. M/- tannin. M acid. 20% new oak, 15 months.

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  • 2000 Alois Lageder Lagrein Lindenburg

    Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Alto Adige, Alto Adige - Südtirol

    (6/21/2012)

    Still red fruit. a blue cheese funk. still very mineral. mineral spice really pops. really quite nice for 12 year old Lagrein. Another 6-8 years ahead of this.

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  • 2008 Alois Lageder Cabernet Sauvignon Cor Römigberg

    Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Alto Adige, Alto Adige - Südtirol

    (6/21/2012)

    50-60% in 125L barrels, 20-24 months, up to 50% new barrel.
    Green pepper, pepperoncini (this blows off). mineral, anise and dark red fruits.

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  • 1992 Alois Lageder Cabernet Sauvignon Cor Römigberg

    Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Alto Adige, Alto Adige - Südtirol

    (6/21/2012)

    Lots of rain during the 1992 vintage. not the best year, but...not physiologically ripe in '92. 'relish' 'kraut' 'rueben' still a touch of fruit, but rolling right along with lots of mineral. not too much of a forest floor thought. Interesting wine, still alive, but for those that enjoy a more adventurous flavor profile. It is noted that today is a 'flower day' and that is great for tasting!!!

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  • 2011 Alois Lageder Kalterersee Classico Römigberg

    Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Alto Adige, Alto Adige - Südtirol

    (6/21/2012)

    textured, spicy strawberry aromas. easy going on the palate. light body. thoughts of Dupeuble Beaujolais. Demeter Certified.

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  • 2009 Alois Lageder Pinot Noir Apollonia

    Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Alto Adige, Alto Adige - Südtirol

    (6/21/2012)

    50% barrel, 50% stainless. Demeter Certified. Robert Pichler is the grower. dark red fruit, mineral, easy smoke edge, but not the depth of the Krafuss.

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Flight 11 - Adami (3 Notes)

The grape is now called Glara.
Bosco di Gica is the driest. Vigneto Giardino is a 2.6ha steep ampitheater purchased in 1920.
90% of Prosecco comes from the province of Treviso. Prosecco can be made all the way to the Slovenian border. The DOC wines are from the flats and the DOCG wines are generally from the hills. The hill sites take 6x the work of the flats. 75% of Adami is DOC. Total of 700,000btls. Everyweek, 2 days fermenting, 2 days bottling, 2 days labeling.

Flight 12 - Tenuta Sant'Antonio with Armando Castagnedi (5 Notes)

There are both the Lasi and Mezana Valleys. Lots of white chalk and limestone. 80ha in Valpolicella and 28ha in Soave. Generally the hills are Valpolicella and the flats are Soave. Trained via Pergola Veronese. 700,000btls, 80% red, 20% white. Monti Garbi - 'Poor hill' or 'Sour hill' is where we are having a glass of Adami Prosecco right now. The Castagnedi family worked and managed vineyards until 1995 and then they established their estate. Stylistically, they go for wines that aren't TOO rich or concentrated. A focus on balance, fresh fruit, and acids.
Valpolicella - 'valley of many cellars.' Sant' Antonio's Soave (which we did not taste) is much fruitier than others. Not from Volcanic soils. It is noted that their 'Valpolicella' is less fruity and can be a little vegetal/herb when young, but 2-3 years in it starts to show.

  • 2011 Tenuta Sant'Antonio Scaia

    Italy, Veneto, Veneto IGT

    (6/21/2012)

    'Scaia' is a piece of limestone. 30% Chardonnay, 50% Garganega, 20% Trebbiano di Soave.
    Aromas of celery salt, chicken stock, herb. lavender, sage. All estate fruit. No Malo on any of the whites.
    Nitrogen pumped into a closed press. Anaerobic. no O2 exposure, so you can work on the wines with little to no sulfur.

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  • 2010 Tenuta Sant'Antonio Corvina Scaia Rossa Veneto IGT

    Italy, Veneto, Veneto IGT

    (6/21/2012)

    100% Corvina. Youngest vineyards. Cherry and pepper. Low tannin. Put a chill on it. Granite. All stainless. Fermented at low temperature. Soft and fruit forward. No stems and 5-6 days on the skins.
    Left on it's lees as protection. Only sulfured (a touch) when racked off of it's lees and then, a touch, when bottled. Paolo also feels that natural yeasts are a bit of Russian Roulette (see Vietti). Also, natural yeasts constantly mutate.
    Also, the reds go through Malo while they are still just juice. Before primary ferment. Its easier for the bacteria to work in an alcohol free environment. Paolo add no cultures.

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  • 2010 Tenuta Sant'Antonio Valpolicella Nanfré

    Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella

    (6/21/2012)

    Less pepper, and then more mineral and stone-y aromas. Nanfré is the name of the previous vineyard owner, Gianfranco. 70% corvina, and 30% Rodinella. All stainless. More silky texture on the palate. Sage character, but still a nice silky texture. Arugula.

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  • 2009 Tenuta Sant'Antonio Ripasso della Valpolicella Superiore Monti Garbi

    Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Ripasso della Valpolicella Superiore

    (6/21/2012)

    70% Corvina, 20% Rodinella, 10% Croatina and Oseleta. 2 clones of Corvina. Corvina Gentile is aromatic and fruity. Corvina Grossa/Rossa is bigger berries, richer, vegetal, spice.
    A little creamier red fruit on the aromas. 2nd fermentation on the skins of Amarone. 'an elegant Amarone makes for a richer Ripasso, and visa versa.
    Aged 1 year in oak, not sweet, more elegant than concentrated.
    Palate is dusty, red fruit, mineral. Elegant and suave, spice and herb.

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  • 2008 Tenuta Sant'Antonio Amarone della Valpolicella Selezione Antonio Castagnedi

    Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella

    (6/21/2012)

    70% Corvina. 20% Rodinella, 5% Croatina, 5% Oseleta.
    Fresh and elegant red fruits. Clean and fresh black fruit aromas. 'Earlier vintages were jammier, now this is getting more elegant with earlier pressing of the dried grapes.'. Chocolate and some easy herb here. Food friendly Amarone. 2yrs in 100% new 500L French.

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Flight 13 - Inama with Stefano Inama (8 Notes)

Stefano's father started by selling wine in bulk to bottlers in the 1960. In 1991, Stefano gets involved with the 89/90 vintage. 1996 he quits his biotech job and also gets involved with red wines too. Inama has 3 estates in Colli Bereci. This is the hottest and driest place in the Veneto. half the rain of Soave. Inama is the largest producer of Carmenere in Europe. Carmenere originates from Dalmatia (current day Yugoslavia/Croatia.) See Carminium of Albania. 'Carmine' is deep red. It is a challenging grape that is difficult to ripen. cover crops are needed. It shows cocoa, black pepper, blackberry with soft tannin and moderate acid. works to blend with Cab and Merlot. And in turn, 17ha of Carmenere, 6ha of Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4ha of Merlot.
Speaking of architecture, Palladio worked a lot in this area during the 16th Century.
Speaking of ecology, this Adige river flooded this area up until 1000AD, when the Romans dug canals and dried out the area.
let it be know, 2010 was a small vintage, no reserve wines and in turn the basic wines shine in 2010.
Oratorio St. Lorenzo - 1600 years old. Planted in 2001/02/08/09. Surrounded by forest and bush. Loose red soil. Leaves from the upper forest give the soils high humus content. Hand prune in the winter. Rarely over 40hL/ha or less than 2 tons/acre. 'wine is made in the winter'. 'wine is made with the scissors' The agricultural year starts Nov 12th. Reverse Guyot is employed and at most 6 shoots/vine. Holes in the leaf canopy are essential for air flow. 12 ha at St. Lorenzo, 60,000 vines total. And the soils are opened up in the winter to combat tractor compaction of the soil. Generally there has been no need to add manure in St. Lorenzo. Finally, only one pruning during the summer needed.
Bradissismo, an estate dated to 1699. Red clay soils, and originally dedicated to tobacco production 'til the early 20th Century. Cabernet and Carmenere planted here. Eventually a tasting room will go in the estate.
Foscarino is trained in pergola. It's easier to work, the shoots can be spread out. 30-40 year average vine age, grass planted between the rows. VSP is not the best here, some shade is needed. From 2009 onward, no manure has been used.

  • 2011 Inama Soave Classico

    Italy, Veneto, Soave Classico

    (6/22/2012)

    2011 was a VG vintage of this wine at Inama. 100,000 btls.
    Previously in the appelation, up to 15% of Trebbiano di Soave was permitted. Now up to 30% and including Chard and SB. Ahhhh!
    Aromas give thought to ice, herb and some quiet barrel thoughts? But it is all stainless steel. 30-40 year average vine age. Palate doesn't whisper any barrel. Kept on the lees over winter. Very giving texture. Med acid. Goes well with Risotto. Ages into honey notes.
    09-opulent
    10-small difficult vintage. Thinner wines.
    11-very good.

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  • 2010 Inama Soave Classico Vigneti di Foscarino

    Italy, Veneto, Soave Classico

    (6/22/2012)

    Over night maceration at room temperature. 'natural selected yeasts'. ???? Selection of grapes from older vines facing east for morning sunlight. 30,000 bottles.
    Richer fruit aromas. Starting to get into pineapple. Soft honey on the palate. Fruit is shyer on the palate. Tree fruit. 100% old barrique ferment. Left on lees for six months so there is no need to rack it.

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  • 2010 Inama Soave Classico Superiore Vigneto du Lot

    Italy, Veneto, Soave Classico

    (6/22/2012)

    Started in 1996. 13,000 bottles. Fermented in 30% new oak. From 3 plots, with some VSP, and in turn, riper fruit. Barrel is pretty keyed back on the nose and just comes up a little on the palate. Mineral, stone fruit, light wood grain. A little pond side-ish

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  • 2009 Inama Carménère Colli Berici Più

    Italy, Veneto, Colli Berici

    (6/22/2012)

    2009 was a great vintage for this wine. 10,000 btls. $20 SRP.
    60% Carmenere, 30% Merlot, 10% CS/CF. All of his reds are in barrique. Here, 1 year, none new.
    Very expressive fruit aromas. Mineral, stone. Med chewy tannin, med acid, red and black fruit. moss and spice.

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  • 2008 Inama Bradisismo Veneto IGT

    Italy, Veneto, Veneto IGT

    (6/22/2012)

    70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Carmenere. Bradissism - magma pressure that forms a hill. Here red clay and limestone.
    Black fruit, herb aromas. Nice structure. 18 months oak and 50% new. 'Bordeaux style' but at 14.5% ABV.

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  • 2006 Inama Carménère Oratorio di San Lorenzo Veneto IGT

    Italy, Veneto, Veneto IGT

    (6/22/2012)

    MAGNUM. 100% Carmenere. '04/06/07 releases. 18 months in 50% new.
    Mineral, floral, spice, black fruit, grass. To go with Salami.

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  • 2007 Inama Cabernet Sauvignon Selezione Veneto IGT

    Italy, Veneto, Veneto IGT

    (6/22/2012)

    100% new French for 18 months. Very blackberry aromas. Hints at charcoal. M/+ tannin. Blackberry, charcoal, moss palate.

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  • 2007 Binomio Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

    Italy, Abruzzi, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

    (6/22/2012)

    Vines planted in 1974. 'concentrated wild strawberry'. Blue cheese, earth, and dense fruit. 18 months in barrel.

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Flight 14 - Marco Felluga/Russiz Superiore with Roberto Felluga and... (10 Notes)

50ha of vineyards, 80% whites. 1967 was the first year of the Fellugas at the Russiz Superiore but history of the estate and wine production go back to the 13th century. They make 200,000-240,000 bottles. Col io in total is less than 1500ha. 09s - alcohol, 10s - acid, 11s - in between. 6-24 hour skin contact on all the white.

  • 2011 Marco Felluga Collio Pinot Grigio Mongris

    Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Collio

    (6/22/2012)

    ~200,000btls. All his whites get skin contact, between 6 and 24 hours.
    Citrus and mineral aromas. Chalky. Felluga has vineyards in four different sites. Palate shows hints of savory herb, sage.

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  • 2011 Marco Felluga Collio Friulano

    Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Collio

    (6/22/2012)

    "friulano gives mineral and almond and a little lower acid". 12 hrs skin contact @ cold temps. Much mineral thoughts on the aromas. Herb. Palate is more mineral and herb, than fruit. Again, sage and mineral palate.

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  • 2008 Russiz Superiore Collio Sauvignon Riserva

    Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Collio

    (6/22/2012)

    Maturing stone fruit aromas. Quince. Exotic pepper and spicy stone fruits. And still very mineral and herb. An underlying style permeates. $35 SRP.

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  • 2010 Marco Felluga Collio Molamatta Bianco

    Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Collio

    (6/22/2012)

    40% Pinot Bianco (neutral barrel fermented), 40% fruilano, and 20% ribolla gialla. Felluga is the only producer to make a Molamotta, a lieu dit in the village of Farra.
    I'm really feeling hard pressed to call any barrel ferment here. Perhaps this is a bit softer than the first three wines, rounder. Also the most subtle of the bunch so far.

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  • 2008 Marco Felluga Collio Pinot Grigio Riserva Mongris

    Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Collio

    (6/22/2012)

    30% Barrel ferment and 15-20% Malolactic. Roberto's other whites get no malolactic (perhaps not including the Molamotta) 2 years on the lees. This is a Marco Felluga bottling, not specifically a Russiz Superiore bottling.
    waxy pear fruit aromas. you can see this going in the jelly bean direction. fantastic presence on the palate. mineral, herb, pear. herb is in the background.

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  • 2008 Russiz Superiore Collio Col Disore

    Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Collio

    (6/22/2012)

    'Col Disore' is the top of the hill.
    Lots more cream on the nose. for the first time, getting the barrel presence on the palate. 100% Barrel ferment. Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Ribolla Gialla, Friulano.
    Quince fruit, spice, partial malo, partial late harvest.

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  • 2009 Marco Felluga Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso Ronco Dei Moreri Venezia Giulia IGT

    Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Venezia Giulia IGT

    (6/22/2012)

    licorice, dark red fruit and black fruit. mineral and easy spice. palate shows grippy texture with med/- tannin.

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  • 2009 Russiz Superiore Collio Cabernet Franc

    Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Collio

    (6/22/2012)

    black fruits, green herb and spice. wonderfully into citronella territory. 'potpourri' nice and present aromatics, with relatively easy structure. very nice wine.

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  • 2006 Russiz Superiore Collio Rosso Riserva Degli Orzoni

    Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Collio

    (6/22/2012)

    Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc. Minimum 2 years in barrelRich (for Italy) black fruit aroma. green spice is really integrating into the aroma profile. palate shows extremely fresh with black fruit and spice. Elegant. Med tannin at most. This is a pretty fine wine.

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  • 2005 Russiz Superiore Horus

    Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Venezia Giulia IGT

    (6/22/2012)

    95% Late Harvest Picolit. a little botrytis. bunches came in with only 7-10 berries/bunch, as opposed to normally 50/bunch. 2-3 years in barrel wiith batonage.
    Apricot aromas and palate. great acid for a dessert wine. light almond on the palate.

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Closing

Wines to search out - Saracco Moscato 1.5L, Vietti 2009 Perbacco, Vietti 2007 Barolo Rocche, Vietti 2007 Barolo Lazzarito, Di Gresy 06 Gaiun and Camp Gros, '11 Nebbiolo, Lageder 05 Chardonnay Lowngang, Casanova di Neri 09 Rosso SantAntimo, 07 Tenuta Nuova, Poliziano 2010 Rosso, 06/07 Asinone, 07 VIno Nobile, Selvapiana 07 Bucherciale.

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